Synthesizer for M:S

Guys, there are a lot of knowledgeable people here, please tell me.

At the moment, I only write music on Elektron Model:Samples. This is a conscious choice. I deliberately got rid of all synths and controllers, so as not to write hardware and not to play live compositions in Ableton. I really like everything, this is exactly the workflow that I have been extremely happy with for more than a month. I like that it is small, simple, takes up little space and I quickly get the music I need.

I use the computer only to prepare / select samples and upload them to M:S. Since I didn’t use samples at all in any form before, now I see an acute shortage of melodic van-shots, atmospheres, or some sounds for writing melodies. So I’m thinking about buying a simple and clear synth in order to connect to M:S and take 1 track out of 6 under the outer synth to steer the synth with M:S.

What is better to buy up to $ 500? I thought about FM synth, like Preen FM, but the FM synthesis itself scares me. It’s complicated and unpredictable for me. I don’t want to review Korg Volca, I had them and without post-processing they just don’t sound the way I want. It may be worth looking towards the Waldorf Blofeld or even the Korg NTS-1. I’ve heard that NTS-1 can be reprogrammed to suit your needs, but I can’t imagine how difficult it is. For me, there is no problem to deal with the reprogramming, but if it takes weeks, then the purchase will turn into a problem, and I have enough development for me at work. Actually, that’s why I left the computer to take a break from it for the hardware. Or maybe you should consider buying M:C?

Examples of music that I write and plan to write with M:S can be found on my channel… . I’m not chasing your likes, but I’m waiting for your advice. Have a great day and thank you in advance!

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If you can wait a little bit until there is a new batch (or grap a second hand one): Micromonsta 2!
The Monologue XD is an awesome synth too. If you like FM but are scared of the synthesis itself: Digitone! It also works great together with the M:S!

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My suggestion for something to add under $500 would be a micromonsta 2 at €250. Very flexible and easy to use.

Re the nts-1 I would say the biggest thing to get over is it has no presets, it doesn’t even remember the last settings. It does however have midi cc control over many settings, so there’s at least one software solution to address the lack of presets. There also appears to be a hardware solution in the form of an RK002 smart cable from retrokits combined with a Launchkey mini mk3.

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…keep in mind, that m:s only mirrors it’s track content, when it comes to external midi…
u got no dedicated, individual midi sequencing at hand there…

so u might wanna consider a synth, that has it’s own sequencing capabilities…

or you just stick to what ur already happy and familiar with and add a model:cycles to ur ballpark…u got same hands on concept and sequencing options but dealing with fm synthesis…given the fact, that most drum purposes are already covered, this fm groovebox can do all ur missing…it’s a perfect little harmonic add on synth machine…basslines, tonal percusions,pads and chords…


Typhon and micromonsta have a lot of love actually… typhon has a lot of good embedded fx, micromonsta reverb and delay… looking for something with fx is important for the setup you want… you should think for a little mixer too, as i think MS didnt have audio input (mackie 802?)…
You also could think of a monologue, ut has an interesting sequencer, with one pattern per preset. If al not weong, you can save several preset with the same sound but different pattern, but i dont kbow if ms can handle the preset change of the monologue. If it can, you could save this track on the ms. Dont kbow how ms will handle the pattern change on monologue. This last can be bought for 150e second hand…

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If you have an iphone or ipad, its worth considering a camera connexion kit, aum and a synth like moog model d, tweakable with fx, as you can run the audio of the ms sample via usb to it, and then effect and mix ios synth and ms without additional hardware. By the way im selling an ipad 7…

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Have you tried using looped single cycle waveforms on the Samples? It provides a huge variety of wavetable style synth sounds that when I had a M:S I found hugely useful. Basically turns the thing into a synth or sampler depending on what you want to do with any particular track. Or - alternatively - create your own by trimming any random sample’s length down to a single cycle and see what happens. You can do a lot of skulpting with the filter, LFO, etc

Lots and lots on Elektronauts about doing this - start by checking out the threads with “Adventure Kids” in the title… Certainly experiment and see what is achievable before laying out $500 on a new synth (however much fun buying new gear always is!).

This stuff


Lots of good suggestions in the replies. I will toss in a couple more: augment the MM2 (if and when you can get one) with an Arturia Keystep, which has a modest sequencer and a decent arpeggiator; or consider the Microfreak, which is only 4-note paraphonic but has an interesting keyboard, a better sequencer, and some nice randomization options on the arpeggiator. Sound design on the Microfreak is not at all scary.

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What about MC-101? That gives you 4 synths, or 3 synths and a looper. Plus loads of FX options, and additional drums if you need them.

Compact and battery power-able, like the M:S.

Also, has an arp, chord memory, loads of polyphony, etc.
You can choose to sequence it with M:S, or use its own internal sequencer, complete with polyrhythms, and microtiming.


One thing to bear in mind is that one M:S midi track will be mono - no chance of chords without using more M:S tracks. In fact, for midi tracks you only have note, velocity, and length. Picking something with its own sequencer is therefore preferable unless you only want a baseline from your synth. Also, as there are no inputs on M:S, something that gives you an audio input for the M:S so you can hear them both together is going to make your life easier. For recommendations, try the Roland Boutiques, Dreadbox Typhon, or ideally an Elektron Digitone (if you can find one within your budget).

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There is USB audio in, from the host (11.4.6 in the manual). Most addons won’t be hosts, though.

I get the impression OP wants to avoid computers. A synth with audio in would be simpler too.


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If you connect well with the Elektron workflow and are willing to go up in price a bit, you might also want to consider a second-hand Analog 4 MKI. You can get them for around $700 USD, and it’s going to be really flexible for you, cover a lot of sonic territory (basses, leads, pads, and even drums), and keep you engaged for a long time to come. It will play very nicely with your M:S. You can even use the A4 as a mixer for your M:S, with additional effects.

Plus the M:S gives you only 6 tracks total, so any dedicated external sequencing duty you give it will steal one of its voices, and I believe its sequencer is only monophonic.

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I have to try one of those! No tol much of a pain to edit??

I don’t think so. There is an initial learning curve but after a day you get pretty quick with it. Definitely ideal if you don’t have a ton of other hardware that needs your attention. Works best by itself or with just one or two other boxes.

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Welllll … it can be fudged. You can get 3 consecutive trigs to play ‘together’ by nudging the first one forward almost to the 2nd and nudging the 3rd one back almost to the second. This has it’s limitations of course, one of which is that you’ll never get a 3-note chord on the 1st beat of a bar (not the first time round anyway).

Ooops …should have said that applies purely to sequencing an external synth from the samples … not talking about the samples standalone.

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My advice would be get a small analogue (or modelled) mono. I’d be aiming for two oscillators, a noise generator and if possible a resonant multimode filter with LP/BP/HP options. That small package will cover a ton of sounds, not just typical synth patches but also percussion and drum sounds and textures.

If you’re embarking on that route and you don’t want to use the computer (or keep it just for transferring and archiving samples) I’d suggest some form of EQ processor. I make loads of my own drum sounds etc and whilst the synth can get me maybe 90% there, a bit, or a lot, of EQ can really earn its crust. I do comp/EQ in the box but one of my favoured workflows revolves around using Renoise as a sampler/sequencer so I’m not bringing those sounds back out of the box. Nothing to stop you doing that in the box before transferring back to the M:S. I wouldn’t say it’s cheating, you’re
Just using it for one specific role :sunglasses:

Or go all out and get a Hydrasynth. :joy: That thing can do nearly everything in the world. :wink:

Also consider the Electribe 2 synth. It is in your price range, it is multitimbral and paraphonic, it has its own sequencer plus it has a stereo audio input so can act as a mixer for your MS audio.

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It is an incredible bargain at current prices (I got mine even cheaper thanks to this forum). Coming from the Model:Cycles, I hit the ground running, as there is a lot of overlap. The advanced features don’t get in the way and are there when I’m ready to learn how to use them well. Plus it has song mode, and pattern changes are synced with other Elektron gear. The one-octave button keyboard is good for noodling, note entry, and sound preview.